By BRIAN A. HOWEY

INDIANAPOLIS – Sen. Todd Young seems to have it all these days. He raised a record $1.6 million for his first Senate reelection campaign this past quarter, sitting on a lofty $5.6 million cash. He doesn’t have a primary opponent. The three Democratic candidates have raised a combined $100,000.

But Todd Young is lacking what may count most: The endorsement of former president Donald J. Trump in a state where he won twice with 57%.

According to Politico, Sen. Young’s campaign made inquiries for a Trump endorsement last winter not long after the Jan. 6 insurrection and then Trump’s second impeachment trial, when Young voted to acquit the former president.

Politico: “Trump’s revulsion to even minor instances of disloyalty only intensified. As an example, they noted that Trump is currently withholding an endorsement of Indiana Sen. Todd Young after Young called Georgia Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene ‘an embarrassment’ to the Republican party last month. Young’s comments came shortly after Greene claimed she received Trump’s ‘full support’ during a phone call with the former president. Trump’s ‘money and his endorsement and engagements [are] very valuable. It’s political currency to a lot of these candidates and he plans to keep tighter reins on that,’ said a former senior Trump administration official.”

What did Young say to breed such Trumpian contempt?

On Jan. 6 as the senator was confronted by Trump supporters outside the Russell Senate Office Building, Young said, “My opinion doesn’t matter. And you know what, when it comes to the law, our opinions don’t matter, the law matters. The law matters. I share that conviction that President Trump should remain president. I share that conviction, but the law matters. I took an oath under God, under God!”

In a statement, Young said, “As Congress meets to formally receive the votes of the Electoral College, I will uphold my Constitutional duty and certify the will of the states as presented. The people voted and the Electoral College voted. Congress must fulfill its role in turn. Like so many of my patriotic constituents and colleagues, I too wish the results of this election were different. I strongly supported President Trump and his agenda the last four years. I campaigned hard for him. But upon assuming this office, I took a solemn, inviolable oath to support and defend our Constitution, just as I did as a United States Marine. I will not violate that oath.”

In normal times, such statements wouldn’t be a problem. But over the past year, Trump has only amplified claims that the 2020 election was “rigged” and “stolen” despite little evidence and pushback from Republicans like Attorney General Bill Barr, Vice President Mike Pence, former veep Dan Quayle and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Following the Jan. 6 insurrection, Young called it the result of “a failure for many of our leaders to be truthful to the American people about what precisely has happened in our elections in recent months.” Asked if President Trump played a role in encouraging the violence, Young responded, “Of course. He’s president of the United States.”

While Young voted to acquit President Trump during his second Senate impeachment trial, the Hoosier senator said, “I can tell you what I’m hearing from Hoosiers, Republicans, Democrats, and I’m hearing it from other Americans as well. I’m hearing that President Trump is now a private citizen. There are other avenues for those who want to hold him to certain charges. Moreover, because of the extraordinary time period we’re in, I really don’t want to spend a lot of time on this.”

Then there was the subject of whether QAnon supporter Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia should be in the GOP. “There should be no debate about Marjorie Taylor Greene,” Young said in a conference call with reporters last January. “She’s nutty. She’s an embarrassment to our party. There’s no place for her in the Republican Party. There ought to be no place.”

“She’s not even part of the conversation as far as I’m concerned,” Young said. “But there is a question about whether our party is going to be a party that is grounded in resentment and anxiety and fear or, if instead, we’re going to be an aspirational party that is dedicated towards addressing the convergence of globalization in the fourth technological revolution and urbanization and the lack of agency and control over one’s lives that those different forces have imposed upon certain segments of our population.

“That’s what we need to be wrestling with right now – and the hollowing out of certain communities on account of these forces,” Young continued. “So government at the federal level has an important role to play. I believe in institutions. That’s why I characterize myself as a conservative, because I believe in institutions and institutions, including government, need to work.”

A reporter asked Young if he is worried about facing a Republican primary challenger when he faces reelection in 2022. “I’ve got a pretty low pulse. You know, I really don’t worry,” Young said. “I didn’t worry when Evan (Bayh) entered my race. I got a lot of fallback options. So, you know, unlike some career politicians who are wedded to their titles and their positions, I got a good life.”

So Young has had a complicated relationship with Donald Trump.

Sen. Young presided over the Republican National Senatorial Committee beginning in November 2018, raising a record $70 million while seeking to build on a 53-47 seat majority. “This Republican-controlled Senate is America’s firewall as we try and consolidate all of the important wins that we’ve had over the last couple years and then look to build on those in the future,” Young said after Indiana Republican Mike Braun upset U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly in 2018 with Trump making a half dozen campaign stops in the state.

But then President Trump, angered by his loss of the White House by eight million votes in 2020, did what was politically unthinkable: He torpedoed the campaigns of two incumbent Georgia Republican senators running in the Jan. 5 run-off, tweeting four days before the election that the two Georgia Senate races are “illegal and invalid.”

GOP strategists said Trump’s infatuation with personal grievances and false claims of a “rigged” and “stolen” election in November would depress their party’s turnout, dooming Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler. “At the end of the day, all of this narrative that you can’t trust the voting machines, you can’t trust absentee ballots – it’s hurting Republican turnout,” a Republican strategist told Fox11 on Jan. 4. “So if you can’t trust the vote, how do you vote? And that’s the big question Republicans have right now.”

Trump succeeded with this sabotage, with both Loeffler and Perdue losing, giving Democrats a 50/50 Senate tie, with Vice President Kamala Harris providing the tie-breaking vote.

Despite raising a record amount of money, Young failed to hold the GOP Senate majority, with many blaming President Trump. Young kept his thoughts about that debacle to himself.

Trump has been openly hostile to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – a Young ally – calling for his removal from leadership. “Mitch McConnell should have challenged that election because even back then, we had plenty of material to challenge that election. He should have challenged the election,” Trump said at the Iowa State Fairgrounds earlier this month. “He’s only a leader because he raises a lot of money and he gives it to senators, that’s the only thing he’s got. That’s his only form of leadership.”

Trump has since reportedly worked to have McConnell ousted as Republican leader, and in April called him a “dumb son of a bitch” and a “stone cold loser.”

In June, Trump said, “Had Mitch McConnell fought for the presidency like he should have, there would right now be presidential vetoes on all of the phased legislation that he has proven to be incapable of stopping,” Trump said in a Monday statement, reiterating his belief that Republicans lost both Senate runoff races in Georgia in January because of ... McConnell. “He never fought for the White House and blew it for the country. Too bad I backed him in Kentucky, he would have been primaried and lost!”

And in a bizarre statement last week, Trump appeared to warn his supporters about voting for Republicans in 2022 and 2024, something that certainly caught Young’s attention. “If we don’t solve the presidential election fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ‘22 or ‘24. It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do,” Trump said on Oct. 13.

Washington Examiner columnist David Drucker, who published a new book “In Trump’s Shadow: The Battle for 2024 and the Future of GOP” said on MSNBC’s Morning Joe earlier this week that Trump fashions himself as a kingmaker. “He understands very well what impact he has on Republicans. He is very acutely aware of what impact he has on Republicans,” Drucker said. “They are afraid of voters who will follow him almost anywhere.”

Thus, Trump can become a “RINO destroyer.”

That came a couple of weeks after he kinda, sorta endorsed Democrat Stacey Abrams over Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, saying at a rally, “And Stacey Abrams, who still has not conceded, and that’s OK. Stacey, would you like to take his place? It’s OK with me. Of course having her, I think, might be better than having your existing governor, if you want to know what I think. Might very well be better.”

While Sen. Young maintains he keeps a “low pulse,” he could be bracing for curve balls from the former president. Indiana’s filing deadline is noon on Feb. 4, 2022. While Young has a $5 million war chest, Trump’s pull with his supporters could swamp that number in a matter of weeks.

All of this would be moot if Trump were to just endorse Todd Young. But renewing that request could put Indiana’s senior senator on the radar, which could be a double-edged blade.